Roadside bomb kills 3 security personnel in SW Pakistan

A roadside blast targeting a government official in southwestern Pakistan killed three security personnel and injured another two on Friday, local media reported.

The bomb was planted in a motorbike parked along a main highway in Pishin district of Balochistan province located some 70 kilometers (43 miles) from provincial capital Quetta, and detonated through a remote control, local broadcaster Dawn news reported.

An assistant commissioner was apparently the target, however, he was not in the vehicle at the time of the blast, the TV channel reported.

The driver and another personnel were injured in the explosion — latest in a series of attacks on security forces and government officials in the mineral-rich province in recent years.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. However, security forces suspect the involvement of the Taliban or the Baloch separatists operating in the region.

The large Baluchistan province, which is also considered to cover parts of neighboring Iran and Afghanistan is strategically important due to its rich copper, zinc and natural gas reserves.

The region has been plagued by violence for over six decades. Over the course of the last decade, the province — especially capital Quetta — has also faced a deadly wave of sectarian violence in which over 2,200 people have been killed.

The province is also a key route of $64 billion megaproject, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which aims to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinxiang province to Balochistan’s Gawadar port through a network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport cargo, oil and gas.